Sunday was a fun day as the pros mingled with amateurs during the annual pro-am for the 49th Tanos Exploration II/Patterson-UTI Drilling Texas State Open at The Cascades Golf & Country Club.
The pros toured the beautiful course and offered tips and advice during the brutally hot afternoon.
Taking first place was pro Alex Carpenter, the former Abilene Christian University standout, and his trio of amateurs — Carson Horack of Wylie, Mason McCowen of Dallas and Sean Horigan of Houston. Carpenter, who resides in Dallas, and his team fired an 18-under 53 to win by two strokes over defending champion Bern Kern and his team.
Horack, who plays collegiately at the Colorado School of Mines, had a double-eagle on No. 6. There were 25 foursomes in the pro-am.
Monday will be another practice day with official play beginning on Tuesday.
The Northern Texas PGA also announced first-round tee times.
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS analyst Tony Romo is playing in tournament for the first time. Romo is scheduled to tee off on No. 10 at 8:24 a.m. Tuesday. Romo, an amateur, will be in the group with 2004 champion Mark Walker of Frisco and Robert McMillan of Colleyville. McMillan runs the McMillan Golf Academy in the Metroplex.
The Texas State Open will be a 72-hole stroke play event consisting of 156 professionals and amateurs competing for a $200,000 projected purse. The field will play 36 holes before being cut to the low 55 scores and ties. All four rounds will be contested at The Cascades from Tuesday through Friday.
There is no admission charge to attend the event. The Cascades is located at 4511 Briarwood Road in Tyler (75709). Fans may park near the All Saints Episcopal School’s Mewbourne Field. Shuttles are scheduled to be available.
Defending champion and PGA Professional Kern, who had an historic run at the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club near St. Louis, is back to compete. Kern, the pro from Georgetown Country Club, was the top club professional at the tournament. He won $33,281 at Bellerive.
He played so well that Kern set a PGA Championship record for club pros. He finished at 277, breaking by two shots the score Jimmy Wright shot in 1969 at NCR Country Club in Ohio. Wright finished fourth that year.
In the TSO last year, Kern won by two shots and collected $42,500.
Kern and last year’s top amateur Michael Salazar, who now plays for Grand Canyon University, will tee off at 1:15 p.m Tuesday on No. 10., along with 2009 champion Mikel Martinson of Arlington.
Other past champions in the field include: Casey Devoll (2003), Nathan Tyler (2012), Chris Ward (2013), Anthony Broussard (2014), Dustin Morris (2015) and Brax McCarthy (2017).
Play begins on holes Nos. 1 and 10 at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Mark Harrison, NTPGA executive director/CEO, gave a presentation on how plans for an Urban Golf Park eventually grew to the PGA of American moving its headquarters to Frisco.
Also Harrison conducted a Q&A with Kern about last year’s experience in Tyler and St. Louis.
Closest to the hole winners on Sunday were — No. 2: Steve Metcalf, No. 5: Susy Grunden; No. 9: Nick Pollard; No. 11: Plez Henderson and No. 13: Daniel James.
Long drive winners were — Women: Grunden; and Men: Greg Hendley.
Grunden played at Texas A&M.
Joyce Crane and Veritex Community are presenting sponsors.